Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Soap Making Challenge from Modern Soapmaking: NINJA SOAP!

If you don't keep up with Kenna at Modern Soapmaking and all the soapy and business bits of gold she pumps out pretty much daily..... why not? MS is a smorgasbord of free soapmaking resources like tips, tutorials, recipes, and the all-important soap porn, but Kenna also offers some pretty incredible e-books for purchase at low low prices you'll never regret paying for such invaluable information (run, don't walk, to get your hands on that 50 Essential Oil Blends one, trust me!), and one-on-one services as well.

photo by Modern Soapmaking

Kenna recently posted a link on MS's facebook page to sign up to participate in an Inspiration Soap Challenge to stimulate soap makers, including herself, to get out of our comfort zone and tackle a specific soap challenge issued by Kenna herself using a kit of goodies sent straight to our door. How could I pass this up?? The fun catch was that we got to issue a challenge directly to Kenna as well! So I submitted my information and my (*snicker*) challenge and waited with my fingers and toes crossed to see if I made the cut.....

.....Then a few days later, this box of awesome arrived in my mailbox.

All together now.... ooooohhh, aaaaaahhh!

I was so excited by all the colors and yummy smells...and PENS, you guys! And how did she know I'd been thinking about ordering some jojoba beads and was fresh out of indigo powder?? I sniffed and sniffed and sniffed. I even stuck my face in the box and sniffed. And turned all the baggies of pretty colors over and over in my hands. It was just like Christmas! .....Then I took a deep breath and bravely opened up my challenge envelope: "Use at least two ingredients from this kit and create a ninja inspired soap." Ok, a little more specific than I'd thought it would be. *gulp*

I must admit, I took my dear sweet time deciding on a plan of action for this soap. I even asked my facebook friends for input. In the end I thought I'd try to mimic a, uh, less traditional ninja character to best utilize the color additives I'd received. I researched the behavior of all three fragrance samples too, and decided on the Winter Hideaway from Rustic Escentuals, which was a bit of a gamble with no testing results or customer reviews listed on their site. 

And I give you...... Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle inspired soap!

From the colorants I chose the alfalfa powder and lavender ultramarine to get this Donatello look. And, yes, I had to google to refresh my memory on which turtle was which color. It's been a minute, guys. 

I've used both of these colorants before in the past, but I got a much richer color with this alfalfa powder than I have previously, and I was very pleased with that. I added it straight to my soap at trace, but I did end up having to stick blend it in to get it all incorporated well, which thickened things up a bit and caused my layers to be quite uneven. It seemed like a got some odor from the alfalfa after cutting the bars, but that's faded away now. I did do a test for green lather and scratchiness to make sure I didn't add too much, and all was well on that front. :)

I'd originally planned a more abstract look using the cut-straight-from-the-loaf rectangular bars, but my layers.....well, let's be honest, they looked awful. So I cut out "heads" with a biscuit cutter instead, poked a hole through the soft soap with a straw, and tied some coordinated ribbon on for funsies. 

Well, what do you think?

I can hardly wait to see your soap from my challenge, Kenna! ;)

I suddenly want some pizza............

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Snow Soap

I don't know about the rest of you, but we had a touch of crazy winter weather the last couple of months. Being originally from the deep south in Louisiana, snow was always an extremely rare and fleeting pleasure for me. So even though the amount of snow we got here in north Georgia was paltry (about five inches) in comparison to other parts of the country, to me it was a blizzard, hehe. 

Yeah, that's how I dress when I'm "snowed in" (or possibly every day) .....

From Kendra Cote's post on Modern Soapmaking I got the inspiration to catch a bucket of snow overnight (ok, I admit I scooped some up off the very top of our hedges) and make a small batch of soap. I decided to hot process the soap so I could enjoy my little piece of history while it was still relevant instead of waiting weeks for it to cure. I picked peppermint and fir needle essential oils and brushed the tops of the soap with micas, cuz you know..... snow. Don't asked me why I picked dark purple for the color, I really have no idea. I think sometimes when I am planning out a soap design that the options get a little overwhelming and I just pick a thing that I like and it works.

I considered boiling the snow before using it, but I knew that the lye would take care of anything that boiling would, so I just let it melt in its bucket in the sink, then poured it slowly through a coffee filter sitting inside a mesh strainer. It didn't do anything crazy when mixed with lye or in the soap, so I was happy. After all, it is just water, so why would it....

Have any of you ever made any soaps from any type of precipitation? I don't have any expectations as far as properties of the soap like I would with a different substituted liquid like milk or beer, but I know some people swear by using rain water for their soap making. What do you all think?